Psychopathy

Discussion of findings: Background:As saying, the concept of psychopathy is still vague, due to the fact that it was a multiple trails disorder rather than a single-symptom disease. Psychopathy was considered the “most dangerous” and complicated personality disorder (Hare et al., 2012, p.3). In one of his own work, Dr. Hare described psychopathy as a “cluster” of symptoms: from interpersonal (conning, manipulation, lack of empathy, shallow emotion, glib and superficial charm) to social deviance (impulsive, need for excitement, early behavior problems, irresponsibility, antisocial) (2016). Kiehl and Hoffman, in 2011, also recognized Psychopathy as a “constellation” of psychological trails. Nevertheless, they pointed out that Hare’s early definition and the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised only focused into 2 model factors might not as affective when using on juvenile offenders as on severe criminals. Despite being a complex personality disorder to define precisely, psychopathy was surprisingly common illness. Its prevalence presented double than bipolar disoder, paranoia; equal to that of panic disoder narcissism, and probably drug, alcohol abuse, depression and PTSD are mental illness which was more popular than psychopathy (Kiehl & Hoffman, 2011). The number equivalents to these comparison was around 30-35 million people. As Dr. Hare et al. had estimated in 2012: 1% of male population and nearly a fifth of the prison population. However, Hare et al. also suggested that while a large number of prisoners being psychopaths, the risk of psychopathic offenders got away with crime was even greater, nearly three times higher than their nonpsychopathic counterpart.   One of the most significant features of psychopathy disorder was adult antisocial behavior. However, it was this symptom that made a great deal of people, including some experts, confuse between two concepts: “Psychopathy” and “Sociopathy”. It was undeniable that these two syndrome bore several resemblances to each other, such as negligence for or, in some case, violation of laws, social norms and human rights (Dinwiddie, 2015), guilt deficiency, violence propensity (Bonn, 2014). Although psychopathy and sociopathy seems like “two peas in a pot”, they are not identical. The first difference laid in the characteristics. Sociopaths had tendency to display nervousness and regularly disturbance, their emotion was capricious and susceptible to flare-up. They were capable of form a bond with others, despite being hard to make connection, while their psychopathic counterparts could maintain relationships, through manipulation and emotional initiation, but did not have capabilities to form attachments. When committing a crime, sociopaths’ action tended to be incidental, chaotic and unplanned, while the crime scenes of their psychopathic peers was as neat and clean as a piece of art, with little evidence, prudential organized details and back-up plans, their action were composed, placid and scrupulous. The causes of these two disoder were believed to be another discrepancy. As Bonn recorded: sociopathy was prone to be the result of an abusive childhood or a trauma event, opposed to that of psychopathy when they were considered a nature mistake – a genetic problem, specifically, a part of the brain being impoverished.  Personality trails: Being a complex personality disorder means the key to successfully recognize a psychopathic individual was through the cluster of psychological trails and behaviors. The key trails were devised, into 2 categories: Interpersonal factor and Social Deviance (Hare, 2016).Interpersonal:The first trail was superficial charm and the ability to artfully convincing others. Psychopaths were amusing conversationalists, with fascinating stories, humorous jokes and polite compliments. The ways they carried themselves were effortless, and they could easily earn someone’s trust. Grandiose sense of self-confidence was the second characteristic. It was not wrong to consider psychopaths as narcissists since they often viewed themselves as “the center of the universe” (Hare, 2016), disregarded the social norms and astounded arrogance of their talents and importance. They were the type of people who would do anything, even illegal ones, ignore the consequences to achieve their goals and get what they want. Psychopaths were masters in lying, their micro facial expression was challenging to detect, and their human masks were too perfect for others to distinguish between truths and lies. Another trail was hollow emotions. As saying, psychopaths were not capable of forming an attachment, due to their hardship in recognize emotions. Their emotional range and depth was limited. Most of emotions displayed were pretentious. Besides being pathological liars, psychopaths also gifted with the abilities of conning and manipulation. They had imagination creative enough to make up a whole story to rewrite the facts and persuaded enough to gaslight victims to believe those lies. However, the signature personality trail that made psychopathy stood out from its peers was the lack of empathy, which was the capability to understand the feeling of other people. From their perspectives, they were the predators while everyone else, even complete strangers, were prey, lesser beings to their  superiors, objects for their recreation. With them, family, friends and acquaintances were something that belonged to them, possessions that they owned.  As a result, individuals with psychopathy could not able to feel guilty or compassion. They did not feel grief or sympathy for other’s pain which, in some case, was caused by them. Unable to feel guilt and empathy also made them become irresponsible to their actions. Promises, principles, laws meant nothing to them. Social Deviance:Although psychopathic crimes were carefully organized, their motive would be a specific goal while impulsivity tended to be the catalyst. Their actions were a chain of activities in random order, left their family, friends, and colleagues behind with doubts. Behavior controls or inhibitory controls were challenges to psychopaths. As a result, they could be quick-tempered, easily provoked and turned to react to situations with violence or verbal attack. However, their eruptions were usually short-term, and could be quickly covered with sweet talks and charming attitudes. Psychopathic individuals were creatures of thrill and possessed burning desires for excitements. With them, life was a game, where every movement was unpredictable, and they were the players. However, soon hot, soon cold, they could easily lose their passions.As saying, psychopathy was listed as an Antisocial Personality Disorder, so antisocial was undeniable a symptom. Laws, social norms were considered troublesome and illogical, so they invented their own rules. Psychopathy did not happen suddenly in adulthood, most underwent early psychological issues like incessant lying, defrauding, vandalism and premature sexual active (Kielh & Hoffman, 2011). Causes: Up till now, the core causes of psychopathy remained puzzles to the psychologists, but recent studies had shown a connection between the syndrome and the human neurobiology. In her edition of “The making of a serial killer”, Bogaard indicated that DNA was more likely to be the cause of psychopathy rather than upbringing (2012). This abnormal gene led to mutation in the nervous system, which made psychopaths unable to feel negative emotions. The MRT scans revealed that their brains produced lesser gray matter, fewer neurons while increased the amount of white matter (Kiehl & Hoffman, 2011). This also made their process of analyst information differently from that of normal people (Kiehl & Buckholtz, 2010). However, Bogaard suggested that we should not left social forces out of the lists, due to their roles in shaping one’s interests and features.  Impact: On the Law system:Feeling “inconvenience” (Hare, 2016) toward rules and social norms, psychopaths made themselves a challenge to the criminal justice system. As Kiehl and Hoffman estimated in 2011, psychopathic individuals are 15 to 25 times more chances to commit crimes than their nonpsychopathic peers. Their crimes were brutal, offered no evidence for the police, due to their lack of empathy. They took pride in their abilities to manipulate and deceit. When interviewing, psychopaths either used their charms to make the law enforcement officers fallen for them or rewrote their stories entirely to confuse the listeners (Hare, 2016). They were irresponsible enough to victimize themselves or put the blames on their own victims in order to get away (O’toole, Logan, Smith, 2012). When facing psychopathic individuals, O’toole advised investigators to prepare them with proper knowledge, understanding, varied interview strategies and had full concentration to look through the perfect human masks. An assessment tool played an important part in investigations and the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, contains 20 criteria, had become the ideal weapon.On the Economic:The abilities to separate emotion from actions enabled a great deal of psychopaths to reach for the highest positions, who Wellons called “corporate psychopaths” (2012, p.43). Intelligent, natural charms and persuasive speeches could make clients and superiors place their trusts in these individuals. They were better at focusing and careful defraud in their golden road to success, despite impulsivity and narcissistic problems. As a result, in the business world, many psychopathic peers had earned their places at the round table as chairmen, executors, managers,etc. Nevertheless, Wellons warned that although psychopaths’ manipulation and rational decisions seems to benefit the firms in some ways, their true motives were for the convenience of themselves. On the society:Corporate psychopaths found no difficulties in the process of reaching higher ranks. As Dr. Hare et al. suggested they served in all fields of the labor forces, from business, politics, law enforcements to blue-collar jobs, and usually achieved high positions in their professions, some even earn a seat in the elite world (2012). Furthermore, psychopaths had made their presents in our culture. Hundreds of films, novels, arts, songs featured or adapted the subjects of psychopathic characters, some even got reorganization from the critics and become symbols in our pop culture, such as Norman Bates, Hannibal Lecter, etc. Even real serial killers made sensational topic. In the 70-80s,Ted Bundy, who abducted and brutally slaughtered 36 young women, were treated as a celebrity. Articles about him became hot cakes, girls dyed their hair brown as his type of victims, his proposal to Carole Ann Boone became a scandal, and he became idol for a part of adolescents . This shown the fact that we were all fascinated by psychopaths (Pemment, 2017).  Curiosity and fear was the key to this fact. They made human take interest in cold-blooded serial killers and thrill with the ideal that they might, in one point, encounter a murderer. To some, these killers were the embodiment of their darkest dreams and the symbols of one’s liberation. From my perspective, psychopaths’ influents on our culture would be considered the most problematic threat to human civilization.  Treatments: The popular choice when it came to “cure” a psychopath would be therapy. However, the twist is that, as Dr. Hare pointed out, psychopaths themselves did not feel like they have psychological or interpersonal problems and saw no reason for therapy. As the mystery of the cause remained, however, some treatments had been put to experiment. Fallon, a neuroscientist, found that the neural activities deterioration in the central parts of the brain, which took responsible for morality and empathy, might be the key for this problem (2013). On the other hand, one of the promising treatments for psychopaths was  “decompression treatment” – intense and precise descriptions of special therapy (Kiehl & Hoffman, 2011, p.22). The pilot study shown positive results with a considerable decline in number of rearrested juvenile psychopathic subjects. This experiment opened new hope in the race to find the “cure” for individuals with psychopathy.         

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